"I was probably around seven or eight years old when my two older siblings and my mother and I were driving back from South Carolina to New York. We stopped at a gas station, and my mother pumped gas while my siblings and I scurried inside to use the bathroom. The exact details are foggy after 20 years, but I do remember that my brother and sister tricked me into thinking they were going to buy a brownie for me. When we got up to the front counter, they paid for their own treats and asked if I had my money for mine. When I said I didn’t - I’d only picked up the treat because they’d said they would pay - they just laughed and said they’d see me at the car and headed out.
I miserably walked away from the counter to put the brownie back, and the cashier called out to me a moment later. I turned to tell him I wasn’t going to steal it, but he was beckoning me over. I approached him again, and I’ll never forget his face and voice when he kindly told me to just take the brownie.
He was an older Indian man, and I still remember that moment of pure kindness.
The looks on my sibling's faces when I pulled it out in the car and told them what happened was the icing on the cake and caused themselves to inadvertently throw themselves under the bus to my mom. Hey, I was the youngest of three, and it was war. I don’t begrudge my siblings; it was over 20 years ago, and it was typical older sibling behavior. We are close now and no one’s ended up in jail, so that’s good. I’ll never know the name of the stranger who showed a sad little girl being bullied by her brother and sister such a simple kindness, somewhere along the long road between the southern and northern US, but I’ll never forget his face. He probably didn’t think much of the loss of a $1 generic brand brownie, but it was the best one I’ve ever enjoyed."